THE Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has charged the newly appointed Board members of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to rise up to the challenge of connecting millions of off-grid rural community dwellers with electricity supply.
He charged them to focus on four anchor plans already approved by President Mohammadu Buhari as major means of providing electricity to the rural dwellers.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month approved the appointment of the new Board and Executive Management for REA. The board members includes the Chairman, Umaru Maza Maza, while the Managing Director is Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi.
Others are Dr. Sanusi Mohammed Ohiare, Executive Director (Rural Electrification); Engr. Muhammad A. Wasaram as Executive Director (Technical Services) and Yewande Odia as Executive Director (Corporate Services). Engr. Alozie Mac and Mr. Rotimi Thomas are appointed as non-Executive Directors.
Fashola listed the four major anchor plans for rural electrification as follows: resuscitation of over 200 grid extension stations, activating light from over 50 hydro dams scattered all over the country, building independent power plants in 44 already selected universities and exploring solar and renewable energy sources.
He warned them against wasting time in trying to find out what went wrong or what made some of these projects were not activated or properly executed to solve the power supply problem of the rural communities.
He explained that one of the reasons why some of the communities were not connected to national grid was because the cost of doing so was very expensive, adding that even when government decided to construct grid extension, it collapsed due to poor execution.
The Chairman of REA, Umaru Maza Maza who responded on behalf of others, promised that they would do their best to make positive contributions towards providing and improving electricity supplies in the rural areas.
Also speaking in an interview with Journalists, REA Managing Director, Damilola Ogunbiyi, explained that a lot of work had been done by the previous management of REA which executed over 104 projects nationwide.
She disclosed that her administration would build on the successes of her predecessor and focus more on renewable energy and off-grid sources of providing electricity to the rural communities.
Further, she said that REA would try to build partnership with donor and international agencies such as the World Bank and other development partners for funding in renewable energy projects.
The REA managing Director disclosed that her priority would be to identify the status of all the ongoing projects and ensure that they are completed with a master plan just as the agency would consider other critical renewable energy projects to execute.
Also, she said priority would be given to tapping electricity from solar energy and building independent power plants in the 44 identified universities nationwide.